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Tuesday, April 24 Sports

New-look Staples football hosts spring game

The first kickoff in September is two-plus months away, but football has been in full swing at Staples High School over the past two weeks. The Wreckers concluded their 10 day spring workout program with an intrasquad scrimmage on June 12.

"It's fun to be back out here playing football again," said captain Jake Melnick, a wide receiver and safety.

Coaches, while on the field, directed the offensive and defensive units, and an officiating crew made the calls. Official score was not kept, but four touchdowns were scored, capped by a catch in the end zone by Julian Ross from quarterback Andrew Speed.

After the scrimmage, which took place during an on-and-off rain, coach Marce Petroccio talked with his players about staying focused and working out throughout the summer weeks. The Wreckers will participate in a few camps as they gear up for the fall.

"This is the most fun coaching in the spring that I've had in a long, long time," Petroccio told the team members in the huddle. "I'm happy but I'm not satisfied."

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Petroccio said he was pleased with the play of the team members on both sides of the ball.

"I'm very impressed with the focus of the group and I'm very impressed with the work ethic," the coach said. "I like the body language and their demeanor. They're ready to go and they're hungry."

Hungry for success after a disappointing finish last season. This past fall marked one of only two times in the last 13 years that the Wreckers haven't qualified for the state playoffs.

With starting quarterback Teddy Coogan limited to the role of sideline spectator because he is in lacrosse season, Speed and Trevor Shearer both took snaps and directed the offenses. Petroccio liked what he saw in his up-and-coming quarterbacks. He was also thrilled with the play the offensive line and the defense, the latter of which will be perhaps the biggest key to success this coming season after struggling last term.

"If we don't play great defense this year, we're in trouble," Petroccio said.

The Wreckers lost nine starters, including several at skill positions. This spring workout program and scrimmage, gave new players a chance to prove themselves and get accustomed to the team.

"It's important, mostly for the younger players, to learn our offense and our defense and come together as a team," said captain Matt Jacowleff, a linebacker.

"It's all about teaching the fundamentals and the foundation of the program -- the type of offense and defense we run," Petroccio added.

Staples begins the regular season September 12 when Xavier, of Middletown, visits.

"I can't wait, I'm chomping at the bit," said Petroccio, a 33-year coach who is going into his 22nd as head coach with the Wreckers.